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Lahaina Restoration Foundation keeps area’s history alive

By Staff | May 9, 2013

David Allaire is the perfect front man. A never-ending look of bemusement on his face coupled with a quick draw sense of informed humor to match, he is the ideal master of ceremonies. Theo Morrison, on the other hand, is the reserved and contemplative complement – the organizational engineer – to Allaire’s outgoing personality.

Together, they form the leadership of one of the West Side’s most important civic organizations, Lahaina Restoration Foundation. Allaire is the LRF president, while Morrison serves as the executive director of the organization that celebrated its 50th Annual Meeting at the Pioneer Mill Co. Smokestack grounds two weeks ago.

On a picturesque Lahaina morning, the LRF leaders, board members, staff and community guests gathered to share the joy and village unity that the organization embraces in its enduring effort to preserve and propagate the aloha of the West Side.

Amidst an unmistakable feeling of spiritual warmth, the integrity of what the LRF stands for, what the membership strives for, shined as brightly as the morning sunlight.

They are business leaders, educators and executives from various walks of life and ethnicities, but they hold in common the desire and dedication to pay forward the cultural value of the village of Lahaina.

Led by President Allaire, the LRF officers are Vice President Ron LaClergue, Treasurer Edward Baldwin and Secretary Louisa Shelton; and the board of directors includes Kevin Baptist, Bunt Burkhalter, Karee Carlucci, Richard Endsley, Pam English, Leslie Hiraga, Robert Kawaguchi, Andrew Kutsunai, Paul Mancini, Peter Martin, Barb Newton, Richard “Noosh” Nishihara, Leilani Pulmano, Kiope Raymond, Alex Ross, Lori Sablas, Donna Soares, Connie Sutherland, Aileen L. Trout and Penny Wakida.

As executive director, following former leaders Keoki Freeland and Jim Luckey, Morrison leads a team that includes Special Projects/Office Manager Noelani Rickard, Event Director Anela Haina, Administrative Assistant Keri Kiesling, Chief Engineer Jesse Neizman, Groundskeeping Supervisor Clifford Corniel and Groundskeeper Anthony Steele.

Lead Museum Docent Martha Medeiros heads up a docent staff of Busaba Yip-Douglas, Jackie Hala, Chi Guyer, Stuart Sharp and Dustin Waite, with Mike Jones in charge of exhibits and Ken Kimura serving as research director.

This staff has restored and maintains historic sites in Lahaina such as the Seaman’s Hospital, Baldwin Home Museum, Hale Pa’i printing museum, Hale Aloha, Wo Hing Museum, Hale Pa’ahao gatehouse, Hale Pa’ahao prison house, Pioneer Mill Company Smokestack and the restored trains on exhibit at the mill site.

A continuing program led by Kutsunai entitled “History In Our Own Backyard” takes new teachers and businesses on guided tours of these sites to educate them on the history of the town.

A highlight of the LRF Annual Meeting is the scholarship awards that go to Lahainaluna High School seniors and alumni. Led by Scholarship Chair Wakida, the program awarded $35,000 to 17 recipients based upon essays that captured the essence and importance of preserving Lahaina’s culture and history. Top award winners were Reilly Pasion and Vincent Magno Jr., who were honored in reading their compositions for the gathering. Other honorees included Julian Bel-Robert, Emna Baccar, Kristel Cabading, Jade Chihara, Lakeisha Ching, Marella Galace, Kiara Galicinao, Josie Gomez, Robert Griffith, Amanda Matsuda, Kaila Nip, Evan Pascual, Bailey Pendergast, Jeannie Ramelb and Makenna Stockham.

The affair was sponsored by Kaanapali Land Management Corporation, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, CJ’s Comfort Zone Deli & Diner, MauiGrown Coffee and Alii Linen Services.

And so it goes as another year has gone by for historic Lahaina Town. But rather than a faded memory, the rainbow of life that defines our community becomes more vivid, the colors more defined, the richness ever transcendent as a result of Lahaina Restoration Foundation. This is, indeed, quite a beautiful thought, isn’t it?